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Graft war needs jail power

Sunday January 19 2020

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The trouble with the war on corruption is that it has been blowing hot and cold every now and then. This can be said of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and his predecessors, too. We have seen dramatic arrests of high-profile suspects, with excitement in the air that the monster of corruption will this time be slayed.

However, this quickly fizzles out.

True, Mr Haji’s tenure in this critical office has seen him take on the high and mighty. This has given the prosecutions office some good media coverage, but with the convictions not coming as fast, there is bound to be some public scepticism. The most decisive moment in the renewed war on graft will be reached when a few of the well-connected looters of public coffers will be made to swap their comfortable beds for the dreary conditions in the prisons.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has several times in the recent past accused the Judiciary of not being supportive enough in the fight against corruption. His frustration is understandable. Some of the most crooked public officials easily get away because they have access to some of the best lawyers. And, of course, they are innocent until proven guilty, but the obstacles that hamper the hearing and determination of their cases, undermine the anti-graft campaign.

For its part, the Judiciary has made it clear that the suspects cannot be convicted if the prosecution does not provide impeccable evidence. It is, of course, within the right of those accused to get the best lawyers if they can afford it. Indeed, the mere fact that the suspects are taken through due process is the best confirmation that our judicial system actually works.

To regain public confidence in the judicial process, the DPP and his team must strive to provide the evidence to convict the suspects. Instead of rushing to arrest suspects and appear in court with half-baked evidence, it would make plenty of sense to take their time and collect all the proof of that wrongdoing.


The day the corrupt officials who have continued to loot the county and national governments dry are convicted, everyone will begin to believe that it is possible and even the people having evidence of the mega scandals will be encouraged to come forward and help nail the crooks. The anti-graft campaign must be stepped up.